2019 Business Leader Honoree

Robert Van Brugge
Robert Van Brugge
Chairman and CEO
Sanford C. Bernstein

Robert Van Brugge is the Chairman and CEO of Sanford C. Bernstein, of Alliance Bernstein, that is widely recognized as one of the Wall Street's premier investment research firms, renowned for its fundamental research approach and in-depth Blackbook reports. 

Robert Van Brugge was honored as the keynote speaker and received the 2019 outstanding business leadership award, during our Award Banquet on May 5, 2019. Robert served as the Executive-in-Residence in the Fall 2018 and a founding member of Student Managed Fund at Heller College of Business! 

Robert came to the US as a high school student from Netherlands, a member of a Dutch education program. He was among 50 high school students who were brought to U.S. colleges for a year, as part of the Marshall Plan. At the time, he came to Roosevelt and liked it so much that after one year, he decided to stay, and finished his undergraduate degree in Economics and Political science. 

After finishing his study at Roosevelt, Robert had to go back to Holland to complete his military service, and later worked for a commercial lender. Robert later received admission to Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania, and completed his MBA and was recognized as a Palmer Scholar.  

He was hired by McKinsey and Company in Chicago where he had the opportunity to work on some of the most important issues facing large companies. After working there for 6 years, Robert joined Bernstein in 2002, as a Wall Street analyst, and was recognized in Institutional Investor’s All-America Research team for beverages. Later as the Director of Research, and then in 2011, was offered to become the Chairman and CEO of the company. 

 Robert has been an innovative leader. He and his firm Bernstein have been highly regarded in the Wall Street particularly in differentiating active investor vs passive investor and in creating Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) index in investment market.

2018 Business Leader Honoree

Jim Radous
Jim Radous III
President & CEO
UniCarriers Americas Corporation

James Radous was honored as the keynote speaker and received the 2019 outstanding business leadership award during the Heller College Award Banquet on Sunday April 22, 2018. He serves as the member of Heller College Business Advisory Board and was our inaugural Executive-in-Residence in the Spring of 2018! In his current role as President and CEO of UniCarriers Americas and Corporate/Executive Officer of Mitsubishi Logisnext Americas, James Radous has seen his company grow from the 8th to the 3rd largest producer of forklifts in the world.

Through his leadership, he has guided the company through a major acquisition to global powerhouse Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. He has overseen a significant expansion of manufacturing capabilities, and led the implementation of a state-of-the-art ERP system to drive greater efficiency and productivity into the company’s operation.

At UniCarriers, Jim has led a major brand change, a dramatic rise in sales, market share and profitability, and has been instrumental in changing the corporate culture -- placing an emphasis on teamwork and unmatched product reliability. 

His career path at UniCarriers was built on transforming winning strategies into sales and marketing initiatives that energized his organization and transformed the marketplace. 

As President of Retail Operations at UniCarriers from 2014 to 2016, Jim was selected to oversee the company’s first factory-owned dealerships, expanding the company’s distribution assets, while complementing the company’s existing independent dealer network and strengthening its relationship with its dealer partners. He managed multiple OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) brands, uniting them into a single organization, identifying profitable performers and eliminating nonperforming brands. 

As Executive Vice President of Americas-Sales and a UCA Board of Directors member from 2013-2016, Jim was charged with developing two new areas for revenue growth: Business Development and Aftermarket. Helping drive UniCarriers into the top tier of equipment manufacturers, he orchestrated multiple merger/acquisitions that drove up revenues by more than 30% and established a new market entity in Brazil (UCSA), the company’s 2nd largest market.

Jim was most recently asked to speak at the Chief Executive 2019 Smart Manufacturing Summit, in Dallas, where he led a session called New Tech Without Tears.

Jim earned an MBA in Marketing from Roosevelt University and BA in Communications from Northern Illinois University.

A father of two grown sons, Jim and his wife, Donna, live in the Greater Chicago area.